Things I Do to Do Things

...even in the midst of a severe depressive episode

1.       Accept that I’m not leaving my bed. Once I stop fighting myself to the impossible task of getting up, I stop wasting a ton of energy and can redirect.

2.       To done lists. Instead of writing what I need to get done, I write what I have done in the last day or so. When I’m severely depressed, this often looks like, “woke up, drank water, fed Andrea (my rabbit).” Which isn’t much by any standard, but I get points for what I do. Full stop.

3.       Bribes. Sometimes I’ll bribe myself with a television show or a dollar to get tasks done. My mom was really against bribing her children, but hey, I need the external discipline.

4.       Watching YouTubers who hustle really hard. This is one that I can only do sometimes—at times it can be really inspiring and joyous, but at other times I just get really jealous and sad. So be careful with this one.

5.       Being honest about my limits. I don’t push myself when I’m not functioning because even though that might mean I get less done, it means that I will overall be making myself better. I stop when I feel like stopping. A lot of people have told me I’m lazy for this, but I know myself and I know my body. When I push past what I was actually able to do, I’m only digging the whole deeper for myself down the road.

6.       Eating chocolate and drinking tea.

7.       Cuddling my rabbit.

8.       Forcing myself to not be a perfectionist, to not critique what it is that I’m managing by with, to go with the flow and stop needing things to be what they are not going to be in whatever moment this is.

9.       Try to stretch. I’ll sit up in bed for a few minutes and roll my shoulders, reach down to my toes, turn my head. Nothing fancy, but everything counts and it gets to go on the to-done list.

10.   Being proud of myself for what does happen and not (or trying not to) beating myself up for everything stacking up and falling through the cracks.

11.   Because I experience intense escapist fantasies, brainstorming in my journals and planners feels really good and productive. Even if I never do the things I doodle, I feel accomplished for being able to dream them.

12.   Looking back on past journal dreamings and seeing if there’s little tiny tasks I can do—from my bed!—towards those goals. Like sending an email, catching up on the texts I’ve been ignoring, or writing a blog post.

13.   Remembering that I am whole and valuable just for existing. Not for what I do, what I produce, or what I offer others. Just for breathing and being. I am worthy.